National Age Without Apology Month

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Health Assured team

28 May 2024

How can we reduce agism in the workplace?

Stigma surrounding aging is rampant within modern society. Social pressures, age misconceptions and stigmas create and intensify negative perceptions around aging, generating fear and resentment about getting older.

Despite this perception, everyone should be accepted, feel comfortable in their own skin, free from discrimination and have good mental health regardless of their age. This is why awareness surrounding age discrimination and stigma is vital.

What is National Age Without Apology Month?

Launched in 2017 by the skincare brand Willowberry, Age Without Apology Month is dedicated to shifting the negative narrative and stigma surrounding the natural process of age and getting older.  

Like the name suggests, National Age Without Apology Month encourages individuals to age without feeling ashamed in the wake of negative stereotypes and misconceptions. The month aims to help people feel more confident and to guide the beauty industry into having wider age representation. 

Initially the campaign focused on how words can affect mental health, such as the beauty industry’s use of ‘anti-ageing’ to suggest that age is something we should challenging rather than embrace.

Celebrated in June annually, the month sets out as a reminder that aging is a gift, something to be celebrated and reduces negative stereotypes, bias, discrimination and prejudice around aging.

Beauty standards

National Age Without Apology Month tackles the pressure of unrealistic beauty and body standards subsequently, improving mental health and wellbeing.

The portrayal of unrealistic and unattainable beauty and body standards pressure individuals to feel ashamed of normal physical signs of growing old, such as sagging skin and thinning hair. This pressure perpetuates and enhance negative mental health impacts, like low self-esteem, negative body image and eating disorders, making it hard to concentrate on the everyday.

Social media, television and media have intensified this pressure to look a certain way and intensifying mental health challenges further.

Aging population

In the UK, we have an aging population with 11 million people over the age of 65 in 2021 compared to 9.2 million in 2011, according  to the Office for National Statistics, meaning we have more people over the age of 60 than we do under the age of 19.

Despite this, the aging cohort still receive and cope with discrimination, bias and prejudice because of their age. A survey suggesting that one in three adults over the age of 50 reported being turned down for a job due to their age. More is needed to be done to combat age discrimination in the UK.


Agism is stigma, prejudice and discrimination towards someone based on their age and can be experience at any age. However, older people usually experience more agism as our society often praises youth and being young.

Age discrimination can be seen in many cases across the globe, such as Space X where a 62-year old faced discrimination because he may “retire or die.”

Agism and mental health

Like other forms of discrimination, agism is harmful to mental health, increasing the chances of depression, anxiety, negative body image, eating disorders and decreasing ambition and self-esteem.

The pessimistic view of growing old and exposure to negative stereotypes are detrimental for mental health and encouraging feelings of inadequacy and shame. Awareness months, weeks and days, like National Age Without Apology Month, reduce these views through education and support people in having more confidence when aging, subsequently improving mental health.

Promoting Inclusivity

Age is a protected characteristic within the Equality Act 2010, meaning organisations have a duty of care to protect people of all ages in the face of agism.

Organisations and leaders should be taking the appropriate steps to promote inclusivity and respect to all age groups.

Promoting inclusivity dispels stigmas and lowers discrimination, creating an atmosphere where people feel more accepted and comfortable.

In workplaces, combatting stigma is especially important for increasing productivity, morale and overall mental wellbeing within your organisation. Promoting inclusivity can be achieved through training, celebrating awareness days, writing inclusive advertisements for jobs and much more.
Reducing agism in the workplace creates a healthier and happier workplace for all colleagues regardless of their age, boosting confidence, workplace morale, productivity and overall mental wellbeing.

How can we reduce agism in the workplace?

In the UK, we still have a long way to go when it comes to reducing agism. Workplace agism is often lead by stereotypes, such as perceptions that older colleagues are technophobic, resistant to change, less innovative and that younger people are lazy and inexperienced. However, everyone should be respected regardless of their age and leaders should look for ways to manager and mitigate this.

  1. Encourage open conversations

Create an open-door policy for all colleagues to be able to comfortably have conversations with their leaders about any worries they may have. Listen openly and honestly when they are expressing their feelings and take any report of discrimination seriously, fairly and swifty.

  1. Celebrate awareness days

Celebrating awareness days provide invaluable information and awareness for important topics for colleagues. It creates a culture of acceptance, inclusion and encourages those individuals to feel understood and comfortable in the workplace.

  1. Offer support

Offering mental health support allows your people to talk about their struggles and release any pent-up feelings they have about a situation. Many organisations have an EAP in place to safeguard the mental health of their people and provide them with a way to talk about their emotions, feelings and mental health challenges.

  1. Revise polices

As a leader, you must protect your colleagues, it is a legal requirement. So, ensure your equality, diversity and inclusion policy is up-to-date, fair, respectful and supportive to all colleagues.

  1. Create an inclusive recruitment process

The recruitment process is extremely important to get right, especially when it comes to inclusivity. Be mindful of your equality, diversity and inclusion policy during interview process and leave any unconscious bias at the door.

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